Debating Regional Military Intervention:An Examination of the Australian and New Zealand Media-Government Relationship During the 2003 Solomon Islands Crisis
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This study explores the Australian and New Zealand media-government relationship during foreign instability and regional military intervention. It offers a critique of print media coverage and political communication during the 2002-2003 Solomon Islands crisis and the subsequent Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. By reviewing the Indexing Hypothesis and CNN Effect, this thesis considers media and government data from the year preceding the intervention. By investigating the media-government relationship in the Pacific region, this study builds on the literature that has so far primarily focused on American and European led interventions. Previous research has illustrated the advantages and limitations to specific methodological practises. This study has drawn from the current literature to form a unique methodical approach. The methods to test the Australian and New Zealand media-government relationship include content analysis, and qualitative techniques for use in four complementary tests. Findings from this study indicate that while there is some degree of the media using the political elite as a cue for newsworthy issues, the media appear to often report independently from the political elite perspectives. The political elite set the range of debate, and while the media stay within this range, they appear to sensationalise certain aspects of the debate. Government also appear to benefit from this media behaviour as it uses the media to gauge responses during the policy formation process.